‘Better Call Saul’: What Did Bob Odenkirk Drink That Looked Like Urine in ‘Bagman’?

Better Call Saul fans are curious. What did Bob Odenkirk have to drink in that desert scene — it wasn’t really urine, was it? Gordan Smith, a screenwriter on the series, revealed what Odenkirk drank while shooting the season 5 episode “Bagman.” 

[Spoiler Alert: Spoilers ahead for Better Call Saul, Season 5, Episode 8]

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman
Bob Odenkirk in ‘Better Call Saul’ | Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

‘Bagman’ is a precursor to ‘Breaking Bad’ 

In the episode, Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman met up with the Salamanca Cousins for their bail money exchange that ultimately resulted in a shootout. Breaking Bad fans took notice of the location of the meetup. It’s where Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) first cooked meth together.

“Bagman” does more than foreshadow Breaking Bad. The episode demonstrates how Jimmy and Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) solidify their relationship. 

In the very first season of Better Call Saul, fans see Mike working the parking lot of the courthouse Jimmy works in. Throughout five seasons, their bond continued to develop, reaching an entirely new level when Mike saved Jimmy from the shootout. 

“When Mike shows up, I think it’s of course a huge relief to Jimmy, although he is so utterly in shock and so traumatized at the point that Mike makes his presence known,” Gilligan said in an interview with AMC. “I don’t even know if Jimmy knows what planet he’s on at that particular moment.”

Later, in Breaking Bad, Jimmy’s relationship with Mike allows him to extend his services to Jesse and Walter. 

Shooting the ‘Bagman’ episode of ‘Better Call Saul’ was the ‘single hardest thing’ Vince Gilligan ever directed

On the surface, “Bagman” doesn’t seem like much. For the most part, it’s two men wandering through the dessert from then on out. But considering the shootout and major car crash that happens in the episode, it’s easy to see where Gilligan is coming from.

“This was the single hardest thing I’ve ever directed in my life — and this was coming off of my first movie, El Camino,” Gilligan said. “I thought that would be the hardest thing ever and that was certainly the longest thing because it was a movie, but this Episode 508 was as tough a job as I’ve ever had.”

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Ironically, shooting an episode about two characters with no food or water proved difficult for the cast and crew, who had ample amounts of food and water. 

“Just the idea that we’re going to be shooting out in this location in murderously hot weather, miles away from the nearest source of water, in a land where there are tarantulas and scorpions,” Gilligan said. “You could roast to death and then die of heatstroke.” 

In the episode, Jimmy has to drink his own urine or perish. Fortunately, Odenkirk didn’t actually have to drink his own pee while filming the scene.

Bob Odenkirk was actually drinking apple juice 

Curious fans questioned Smith during a Twitter Q&A. “Which drink was Jimmy drinking which was shown as his pee?” a fan asked

In reality, Odenkirk was downing a mixture of apple juice diluted with water and a bit of food coloring to give it the appearance of urine for the cameras. Whoever concocted that mixture behind the scenes had many fans convinced the drink might have been urine!